UPDATE 2-Iraq lawmakers approve 2011 budget of $82.6 bln

Sun Feb 20, 2011 4:57pm GMT

* Iraq budget projects $13.4 billion deficit

* OPEC producer looks to oil revenue to repair war damage

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By Suadad al-Salhy

BAGHDAD, Feb 20 (Reuters) - Iraq's parliament gave final approval on Sunday to an $82.6 billion budget for 2011 based on an average oil price of $76.50 per barrel and 2.2 million barrels per day in crude exports.

The deficit was projected at $13.4 billion, although Iraqi officials have said the shortfall would be eliminated if world oil prices remain at current levels. About 95 percent of Iraq's government budget comes from oil revenue.

Budget shortfalls challenge Iraq's ability to rebuild after years of conflict following the 2003 U.S.-led invasion that ousted dictator Saddam Hussein.

The budget allocates $25.7 billion for investments. Iraqi officials have announced massive projects to build hundreds of thousands of new homes and to boost electricity generation.

Current power production is just 7,000 megawatts compared to demand of 12,000 megawatts. Iraq's master plan for electricity says the sector needs $77 billion of investment by 2030.   Continued...

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